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Limited Range of Motion |Contractures| Exercise

This post was written by etoims on September 21, 2013
Posted Under: Medical Updates

Limited Range of Motion |Contractures| Exercise

Limitation in range of motion of the neck and lower back, shoulders and hips start at a very early age and becomes more prominent as we age and and the limitation of range of motion spreads more to the distal joints.  All this can occur silently without symptoms of pain from muscle tightness due to motor spinal nerve root irritation.  We accommodate and compensate for our limitation of neck range of motion by turning the body to face the left if there is tightness on the left side of the neck.  If there is tightness in the lower back, we accommodate for that by keeping the trunk bent forward since standing up to be straight with an erect posture uses too much energy from work performed by the spine extensor muscles.  Therefore individuals stay in a position of comfort which is usually a forward flexed posture of the neck and back.  Limitation of motion of the big joints or any joint for that matter is compensated by less use of the joint as well as performing of motion only within the free range.  This disuse of muscles make them more tight since they are not exercised through the full range of motion.

Normally, to stand needs very little energy expenditure since no muscles need to contract except for the calf muscles.  Normally, the line of gravity passes behind the neck and trunk and through the sacrum, behind the hips and in front of the knees and ankles.  With an abnormal forward flexed posture, the line of gravity falls too much forward of the spine and hips but behind the knees such that many muscle contractions are now needed to allow the individual to stand.  These individuals also are prone to falls with serious injury to the spine and hips sustaining fractures.  Even though you may have only a slight flexion contracture at the lower back and hips, you will notice that you cannot stand long enough comfortably and wants to sit down frequently to rest.  When you have such symptoms, the earlier it is worked upon by clinicians knowledgeable in neuromuscular health, the better the end results so that progressive contractures will not occur.

As the muscles become tighter, very little in insidious trauma or acute trauma is needed to bring about pain.

eToims has a major role in exercising single muscles to improve range of motion as well as to provide relief of pain by surface electrical stimulation of the trigger points in individual muscles, working first on the muscles that perform lengthening eccentric contractions such as the spinal extensor muscles at the back of the body.  These exercises are followed by the isolated exercises from trigger point stimulation of strong muscles that perform shortening concentric contractions in the front of the body.  The more involved the contractures, the treatment applied exercises will be needed regularly as an ongoing basis.

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